I call these lovelies my Golden Crunch Peanut Butter Caramel & Chocolate Bars. Or just Peanut Butter Caramel Bars for short. Since the peanut butter caramel filling is really the star of the recipe show here. These squares are perfect for a nibble-style treat. A little nibble goes a long way. Simply cut out a cube, straight from the fridge or freezer, and peanut butter-chocolate crunch bliss is yours..
I call this a nibbler’s dessert. You can store these sweet squares in the freezer (or fridge) and grab a nibble whenever you crave a sweet treat. I love nibbling a square of these bars after dinner in place of a big or fancy dessert, or as an energizing afternoon sweet treat.
The creamy coconut oil-infused dark chocolate gently hugs the velvet-y, chewy peanut butter caramel as a thick crunch of crushed cereal flakes lines the bottom edge. This is a no-bake dessert that is gluten-free and rich in healthy fats from the extra virgin coconut oil and nut butter.
You can use any size dish to make these bars. Square or circular. Just make sure that the bars are layered thickly enough. I like at least a ⅓ inch for the top and bottom layers and at least ¾ inch for the nut butter middle.
If you just want to make a small amount, use a small dish. For a large crowd, you can make a giant casserole dish filled with these bars. The recipe below filled a 4″ mini round cake pan, generously. Since I just know we will all be using different sized pans and dishes here, you can guesstimate how much of each layer you want. Simply double, halve, triple (or more!) of my recipe below. This recipe is very forgiving in measurements!
Start with the crunchy crust, add as much as you’d like, then add the peanut butter filling. You can always make more filling if you want a thicker layer.
For the caramel, you can make as much or as little as you need, follow this basic ratio recipe..
1 part extra virgin coconut oil
1-2 parts agave syrup
4 parts nut butter
Golden Crunch Peanut Butter Caramel & Chocolate Bars
vegan, no-bake, makes about 20 small cubes
corn crust layer:
1 cup crushed corn flakes (lightly sweetened)**
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
**You could also use other ‘flaked’ cereals like ancient grains or spelt.. I used Kashi’s ‘Simply Maize’ cornflakes because they are nice and crunchy, lightly sweetened
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (semi-sweet chips)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Peanut Butter Caramel Layer:
1 cup peanut butter, softened (or almond butter)
¼ cup coconut oil
⅓ cup agave syrup
crunchy cereal, puffed cereal or nuts
I used ¼ cup puffed millet cereal and 1 teaspoon peanuts
1. Blend the cereal in a blender until finely processed. Pour cereal crumbs into a bowl. Toss the crumbs with the melted oil and sweetener. They should get thick and sticky now.
2. Grease your dish or pan with coconut oil. Pour the crushed flakes into the dish and press down until a thick layer forms. If the crumbs are not sticking and patting down, add another drizzle of sweetener or oil to help wet them so they can easily be pressed down.
3. Add the pb caramel ingredients to a small bowl and microwave until warmed. Stir briskly until a thin and silky mixture forms. Heat again if there are still clumps. Under a minute should fully melt the caramel ingredients.
4. Pour the caramel over top the flaked crust, you want about ¾ inch thick layer. Place this dish in the freezer until firm.
5. Melt the chocolate ingredients in a small bowl. Pull the firmed caramel-layered dish from the freezer and slowly pour the chocolate layer over top, about ⅓ inch layer. Sprinkle the “in-between” ingredients over top and press them into the chocolate. They should sink a bit.
6. Place the container back i the freezer until all the layers have fully firmed up – about 30 minutes should do it for a small dish like mine.
7. Warm the dish by placing it in a hot water bath, loosen the edges with a butter knife, them place a plate over top the dish, flip it and allow the entire dessert to fall onto a plate for slicing. You could also slice though the bars still in the dish if you have trouble removing the entire thing at once. Note: As the bars warm they soften. You want to serve your bars still chilled, but slightly warmed so the chocolate is soft to bite and the caramel nice and creamy to chewy. Store leftovers in the freezer or fridge, covered.